Chiropractic care isn’t mysterious – it’s a natural approach to health
Sometimes my patients have the idea that chiropractic care is somehow mysterious, or that it’s very different from “traditional” medical care, but in truth the only difference is that chiropractors don’t use medications or surgical intervention, we use completely natural means to help the body heal itself. Chiropractic care seeks to relieve pain and promote healing by restoring the structure of the body to natural balance and alignment, which in turn allows the entire body to repair itself so it can function properly again, without pain
Why the spine, the spinal cord, and the nervous system are so important to health
What do I mean when I talk about restoring the “structure” of your body? Specifically – I’m talking about the structure of the skeletal framework of your body, particularly the spine. The spine is made up of 24 separate small bones called vertebra, and the vertebrae surround and protects the spinal cord by providing a bony casing around it. This is why chiropractors focus on the spine; the vertebrae of the spine are what protect the spinal cord – also called the “nervous system.” The healthy functioning of the nervous system is one of the keys to a pain-free, fully functioning body.
The nervous system is the “central control” of the body
The reason the nervous system/spinal cord is so vitally important is because it is the “central control” – the network of communication for the body. Whatever you feel – from the sweetness and cold of ice cream to smacking your funny bone to falling and breaking your hip – triggers nerves that run through your spinal cord up into your brain – which then interprets the physical “experience” of it, whether painful or pleasurable. The nervous system governs many parts of the body, including:
- control of all limbs & movement
- sensory organs of taste and smell
- sensory receptors in the skin, the joints, the muscles, and tendons
What is the nervous system – and why do the vertebrae affect it?
The nervous system – or spinal cord – is literally a rope of bundled nerves that’s about 18 inches long in men, and 17 inches long in women, and it runs from the base of your skull all the way to the tip of your spine. This cord is about ½” to 1” around, and is made up of the nerves and vessels that carry the blood supply that connects your brain to your organs and limbs. The spinal cord is completely encased and protected inside the “casing” of the vertebrae that make up your spine.
This means that when any one of the small bones – or vertebra – in your spine is out of alignment – even a tiny millimeter – that misalignment is compressing or pushing against the nerves in your spinal cord, and those nerves are attached to some area of your body. Whatever area of your body is sending out signals of pain – those are the nerves that are likely being compressed by one of the vertebra in your spine.
When the spine is out of alignment – it causes pain somewhere in the body
When any portion of your spine – even a single vertebra – is out of alignment, it causes problems. The problems range from pain of all kinds in virtually any part of the body, to difficulty moving, thinking, and functioning. What causes your spine to go “out of alignment?” Any number of issues can stress the spine enough to displace one or more vertebrae; the number one cause, of course, is an accident or injury of some kind. Injuries are generally the initial reason a patient comes to me. However, there are many other things that can cause misalignments in the spine. Patients don’t realize that something as innocent as the repetitive motions they perform at work, like lifting or bending, can eventually lead to misalignment in the spine. Of course worry, stress, tension and anxiety will lead to back and neck problems, but even something as simple as poor posture or bad shoes can cause a huge problem – and a lot of pain. Whatever the cause, when something in your spine goes “out of whack,” it results in pain, and pain means there is inflammation.
Misalignment causes inflammation, your body’s natural response to injuries, stress, misuse, and/or disease
Inflammation is your body’s primary reaction to injury, but your body will respond to virtually any physical problem, illness, ailment, or wound with inflammation that will cause limited mobility and pain. Almost every patient I have is suffering from some kind of issue that limits their ability to move freely or without pain. Pain in the back, shoulder, or neck regions are the most frequent presenting symptoms – but it’s important to know that there are many, many more conditions that chiropractic care can treat.
Putting your spine back into alignment relieves pain, allows you to heal
By making gentle adjustments along your spine, I am able to move one or more vertebra back into alignment so that they are no longer pinching the nerves that attach to your bones and muscles, which may be what is preventing your full range of movement. If one or more of your vertebrae have been knocked out of place by an injury or accident, I can help to bring them back into their proper, healthy position. This helps reduce inflammation in and around the nerve and injury, so that the pain signals stop firing.
Chiropractic care may seem simple and gentle – but it can bring powerful relief!
Some of my patients tell me that it can be somewhat puzzling that what seems like a simple and gentle procedure can bring so much relief. They are often surprised that – just by manipulating an area of their spine – their pain can be relieved, especially when the actual perceived pain seems far removed from the place on the spine that I am adjusting. This is because I have “released” a vertebra in your spine and gently moved it very, very slightly so that it’s back in alignment with the rest of the vertebrae and the spinal column. In effect – the vertebra is no longer compressing or compromising the nerve attaching to the area of your body that’s causing the problem.
Chiropractic care relieves pain without painkillers or surgery
What’s wonderful about chiropractic care is that it heals without invading the body with chemicals or surgical procedures. Just by releasing pressure on the nerves in and around an area that is causing pain – the inflammation is relieved, which then helps the muscles, tendons, and other tissues that are connected to the injured site to heal.
As your chiropractor – it’s my job to make sure your spine is healthy, and a healthy spine is one of the best ways to achieve a healthy, pain-free, fully functioning body.